I think after tonight’s show, my fear that season 8 will turn into a battle of the singers (with only a few other unique acts thrown in) seems to be coming true – and I partially blame the judges, who seemed to lavish over-the-top praise on even the most mediocre singers tonight. I really hope some of the singers cancel each other out in the semifinals – because if not, I fear this season could get REALLY dull, really quick.
1.) Kenichi Ebina – Most unique and creative act of the night for me, and I love that this guy’s skills extend beyond dancing into martial arts and animation. I just love watching him! I would say he’s probably the only act from last night that’s a sure thing – if he doesn’t make it through, something is seriously wrong with America.
2.) Chicago Boyz – Best energy of any act of the night, for sure. Loved that they had some new tricks to show off – they really upped the ante this time – and that they never were sitting still: if they weren’t doing a stunt, they were hyping up the crowd. And best of all: they looked like they were having the time of their lives out there. Hopefully America thought so too.
3.) Deanna Dellacioppa – Deanna was better last night than she was at her initial audition and her Vegas performance, I’ll give her that. But I still don’t think she’s as stellar a vocalist as the judges (and she herself) seem to think she is. Something about the texture of her voice just bugs me – some of the notes sound thin and choppy, and others come across as too sharp and forceful. On top of that, I just get this diva-ish air from her – the way she gets overdramatic when talking about how she’s always been looked over due to her weight, the freaking out about her backing track in Vegas, the cheesy Beyonce-esque hand gestures during her performance. You’re not there yet, honey. However, I think the gushing from the judges (and the fact that she’s one of the only female solo vocalists left in the competition) give her a decent shot of advancing to the next round. I’d be fine if she didn’t…but I said the same thing about Marty Brown, and I’m still eating crow about that one.
4.) The American Military Spouses Choir – Sometimes I wonder if the judges hear something completely different while in the live audience at Radio City than we the viewers do at home – because I found myself feeling only lukewarm about this performance. Once again, I felt like there were one or two women doing all the heavy vocal lifting, and those in the backround were only managing to contribute some off-key humming. I really disliked the arrangement of the song – I could barely tell that it was “Hero”, because of some of the pitch changes they made. Do these ladies do great work and have a heartwarming backstory? Absolutely. But do they have the talent to stick around and hang with some of the stronger acts this season? I’m not so sure. I think their backstory will probably carry them through to the next round (much like Marty Brown’s did last week), but I think they’re probably going to stick out like a sore thumb next to some of the really strong acts in the semifinals.
5.) Jonathan Allen – I’ll admit – Jonathan sounded good last night, save for one dodgy note at the very end of his performance. But I’m left a bit on-the-fence about him: do we really need a THIRD opera act in the semifinals? Will America put a third opera act into the semifinals? That’s the big question mark of the evening for me. I actually think Jonathan sounded better than both Deanna & AMSC last night, but I don’t feel like he got as hyped by the judges – probably because they already have opera crushes on Forte and Branden James (who I’m still not all that impressed with). He seems like a good kid with legitimate talent – but if it comes down to him and another act in the judges’ choice (a more appropriate name seems to be the “judges’ cop-out”), I think they’ll pick the other act, simply because we have 2 opera acts already.
6.) Jim Meskimen – He’s another act that did fairly well last night, but I’m just not sure what America is going to make of him. I definitely think he’s better than Angela Hoover, but I also think he had tougher competition last night than Angela did – and some of his impersonations were only so-so (I didn’t really “get” the Clooney and Woody Allen ones). My gut feeling is that he’ll probably get lost in the sea of singers from last night, but I think there’s still a slim chance he could advance to the next round…guess we’ll have to wait and see.
7.) Mitsi Dancing School – What they do is really spellbinding to watch – the precision with which they dance is just amazing to me. But I worry that their routine may have gotten a bit repetitive, and the ease with which they did some of those precise moves may not get appreciated as much as it should by the audience. Had they thrown in some more acrobatic stuff, I think they would have stood a better chance of making it through – but unfortunately, I think they’re going to end up one of those “pleasant to watch” acts that doesn’t really leave a lasting impression.
8.) Dave “The Cobra Kid” Weathers – I think Howard actually summed up the problem with this act the best: the act depends heavily on the snake, and the snake didn’t deliver. No doubt cobras are extremely dangerous animals – but I think Dave’s problem last night was that his cobra seemed more in the mood for flight than fight, and kept slithering away…which diminished the dangerous feel of his act. On top of that, I think the fact that he didn’t really have a specific goal to his act made it feel a bit aimless – in his first audition, the goal was to get the rattlesnake to pop the balloon in his mouth; what was the goal this time? Taunt the snake and then shove it back into a box? I like the guy, but I think his act has hit its plateau on AGT.
9.) Leon Etienne & Romy Low – I think in the struggle to do something cool & unique, Leon & Romy may have confused their audience a bit – which hurt them even though their trick was quite impressive for those who were able to keep up with it. The whole “deliberately show the audience that we’re faking trick A so that they aren’t paying attention to trick B” scheme would have been genuis, had it been explained better from the get-go – and if they hadn’t wasted so much time trying to distract us with the first trick, I think the act would have been far better received by both the audience and the judges. I don’t see them making it through tonight, but I could see them asked back for the wild card round.
10.) Brandon & Savannah – I think these two are proof positive that song choice is crucial at this point – and they picked the wrong one, I’m afraid. I don’t think this song suited either of their voices well, but Savannah in particular sounded off-key and flat to me tonight, which is strange considering that she’s usually the stronger of the two for me. Overall, unimpresive and forgettable for me last night.
11.) Kelsey & Bailey – I don’t think Kelsey & Bailey really benefitted too much from the fact that Olate Dogs won last season…and I think they just kind of stick out like a sore thumb as a very mediocre pet trick act. I agree with Mel that this seemed to get very repetitive and that Bailey seems to have a rather limited repertoire of tricks. He’s adorable, yes – but I feel like we saw MUCH more impressive stuff from Olate last season.
12.) Aerosphere – Just a big snoozefest for me – too slow-moving and it seemed to take forever to really get started. I think I only saw one acrobatic trick. Just…no.
So what are your thoughts on last night’s acts?